Snowshoeing in the Catalan Pyrenees
Description of Snowshoeing in the Catalan Pyrenees
If you think the peaks of the Catalan Pyrenees are out of bounds in winter, think again. Putting on snowshoes and striding out allows you to experience the landscape in the snow. Well off the classic tourist trail, this small-group holiday heads to the Pallars Sobira region, a dramatic setting for snowshoeing which is also rich in cultural heritage. Expect to discover a remote mountain way of life as well as the breathtaking scenery.
Staying in two traditional Spanish villages during the week, we will walk through ancient forests, across valleys and through tiny forgotten villages, stopping off to visit local producers of wine, cheese and wool. Soaring peaks and extraordinary views are the constant backdrop and you’ll walk with an expert local guide, who can steer the group off the main trail and onto more interesting routes. Snowshoes, poles, all transport and activities are included.
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1 Reviews of Snowshoeing in the Catalan Pyrenees
Reviewed on 24 Feb 2020 by Alan Reimer
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Having a competent guide who knew the area & could lead us. Excellent hotel. We have a big problem with air flights which meant that we missed the train that we should have caught. The hotel very helpfully put on a minibus to fetch from the airport.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Great for cross country skiers with experiance.
PlanetAccommodation and Meals:
We will divide our stay between the villages of Rialp at Hotel Victor and Lo Paller mountain hotel in Valencia d'Aneu. Both are small villages perched high up in the mountains. All accommodation is locally owned and staffed, which provides employment and income alternatives for many locals. Where meals are provided they are locally sourced with a focus on using traditional ingredients. At Hotel Victor (founded in 1903) in Rialp, homemade meals are prepared with local produce. The restaurant at Lo Paller mountain hotel in Valencia d'Aneu has a growing reputation for good quality Pyrenean cuisine. Guides will be able to recommend authentic restaurants to visit for dinner and these will often be family run.
As we spend the majority of this trip snowshoeing around the Catalan Pyrenees Mountains, we have a relatively low impact on the environment. By hiring our snowshoes and poles locally, we are also ensuring that the community benefits from our activity. We operate on a ‘leave no trace’ basis and guides are careful to enforce this with briefings on responsible tourism issues.
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
PeopleLocal Craft and Culture:
Although we spend a lot of time in the wilderness, there are opportunities to experience local craft and culture. We will have the chance to visit a local cheese producer and Catalan wool collective during the trip. La Formatgeria is a family-run business in the village of Surp run by Clara Fernando who left her hometown near Barcelona in 2005 to set up her cheese produce business. We have chosen to visit this cheese-maker as they are committed to the process used to obtain the cheese and use renewable energy. Her cheeses have been awarded several times and during our visit Clara will talk us through the process used to make the cheese and of course we will be able to taste her produce.
AOX is a non-profitable association in the Pallars Sobira region which was established in 2009. Its aim is to achieve a fair price for the wool made by shepherds that still grow a breed of sheep called Xisqueta. AOX aim to be involved in the entire process; buy the wool from the shepherds, manufacture the wool, make products with this 100% pure new wool such as sweaters, gloves, scarves, socks and then finally sell direct to the public. AOX also train a team of local craftswomen who can eventually work the wool to produce high quality items. The AOX mission is to the keep alive the ancestral knowledge but to tailor it to our time and during the trip we will attend a small workshop when we visit the collective and of course have an opportunity to purchase items.
This trip designed to allow a high degree of economic benefit to the local communities; we buy local produce, eat local food and use local services, thus ensuring that as much money as possible is retained within the local economies and the host communities.
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From €1250 8 days excluding flights
Enjoy a gentle winter snowshoeing in the Spanish Pyrenees